Duke women's basketball's Celeste Taylor named ACC Defensive Player of the Year

Head coach Kara Lawson finished second in ACC Coach of the Year voting.

Senior guard Celeste Taylor in Duke's Feb. 23 home win against N.C. State.
Senior guard Celeste Taylor in Duke's Feb. 23 home win against N.C. State.

The bells rang out across Duke’s campus at 5 p.m., chiming as if in celebration of Blue Devil senior Celeste Taylor.

The senior guard from Valley Stream, N.Y., was tabbed ACC Defensive Player of the Year in Tuesday evening’s announcement and was also named to the All-ACC First Team and All-Defensive Team. Head coach Kara Lawson nearly joined her in the festivities, earning second place in ACC Coach of the Year voting behind Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey.  The pair collect these accolades in a fiercely competitive conference after leading the Blue Devils through the regular season with records of 24-5 overall and 14-4 in the ACC.

This is not the first time that Taylor’s name has been in an awards conversation. Earlier this week, the Long Island Lutheran product was added to the semifinalist watchlist for the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Her recent success comes as the result of a dynamic four-year career beginning at Texas and continuing at Duke for the last two seasons. She sits fifth in the conference in total steals, while also boasting a top-20 spot in total scoring.

Duke’s scoring defense is ranked third in the nation, in large part due to Taylor’s talents and Lawson’s leadership.

Lawson, now in her third year as head coach for the Blue Devils, earned 142 points from voters, falling short of Notre Dame’s Niele Ivey as Coach of the Year. The Fighting Irish finished first in the conference, one win ahead of the Blue Devils in second place.

Lawson and Taylor will have a chance to put their accolades to the test in the ACC tournament quarterfinals Friday evening in Greensboro, N.C.


Sophie Levenson profile
Sophie Levenson | Sports Managing Editor

Sophie Levenson is a Trinity sophomore and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 120th volume.

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